I dunno here, I just don’t know

A Dutch backpacker was one of two men rescued from a capsized yacht off North Stradbroke Island, but the drama hasn’t dented his sense of humour.

“Australia wants to kill me! Drop bears, everything, now a rock,” Max, 23, joked to reporters.

Drop bears. Wiki tells me that it’s quite a modern Oz joke. And The Last Continent was published in 1998.

So which came first? Was Sir Pterry playing off an extant joke? Or did he create it?

6 thoughts on “I dunno here, I just don’t know”

  1. As a young kid on bush camping trips in the seventies, drop bears were a constant joke. Mainly from some old outback type trying to scare the city kids. Based on the age of these old guys, this joke has been going on for some time. Despite many hours lying in wait in creek beds (apparently their natural habitat, in the trees) we never saw a drop bear. Plenty of other stuff – mainly rabbits and foxes.

  2. Grew up there. 70s at least. Sir Pterry was reporting not creating. You also had plop possums, Mare’s nests and symbiotes hoop snakes and lift birds. Hoop snake would coil itself into a hoop to roll down a hill to catch it’s prey. It would share the kill with the lift bird which would then carry it back to the top of the hill.

    Used to frighten tourists.city kids and Victorians ;0)

  3. East-west possums.

    One of the blokes in my regiment did a joint exercise with the US Marines in Aus. He showed them the small tins of Vegemite in the ration packs and explained it had to be applied behind the ears to deter drop bears. It was explained that they dropped from the trees and wrapped their arms around your head, but the Vegemite made them let go. An entire company of Marines duly applied Vegemite.

    Even though the exercise area was desert, and had no trees. Such is the terror inspired by drop bears.

  4. Jorb,-

    When young, I was an amateur herpetologist and actually worked 5 summers in reptile exhibits (as a “Guide” or lecturer to the tourist customers. Visitors to both places I worked would be from all parts of the U.S.

    I’ve had at least a couple dozen people claim to have actually seen “hoop snakes” do their bit–taking tail in mouth and rolling down a hill in pursuit of prey or an unlucky person, finally straightening in order to spear their target . Believe it or not, every one of my informants was able to escape by the artifice of running toward a tree and then dodging aside, so the snake would be permanently “stuck” in the tree.

    I managed to get myself bitten by rattlesnakes three times–twice by ones born only minutes previously (and thus not very capable of a dangerous bite) and, somewhere out there on the “net,” is a photo of me catching a 17-1/2 ‘ anaconda (in
    the Guyana Highlands of Venezuela in 1980).

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